Time has no role to play in any of this.
Time isn’t pleased by the prospect,
it prefers to be ever present, ever
escaping, even as it is arriving.
It is quirky that way.
It is constant yet it loves
to give the impression of being variable.
Einstein noted this, and anyone
returning from a long drive is
aware the return is always the shorter trip.
Unless, of course, you suffer
from a bad back, then time
really has the last laugh.
I suppose I ought to be glad that no playwright has ever written about me, for that is a fame that always seems to end badly, unless it is a comedy, and that, too, is dangerous ground, for such plays tread heavily for a laugh.
Consider Shakespeare, and ask yourself if yo would want to ever be one of his protagonists, no doubt ending up prematurely dead, and carrying all manner of sin and angst to your grave, while others gather to note your failures.
I suppose I could try a one-man show, autobiographical, but only if I directed myself, and even that would be challenging as I don’t take direction well, but my early attempts at its creation failed miserably, as my audience, the mirror, made clear.
Humor is highly subjective and what will make you laugh is just as likely to elicit a groan, or worse, from me. Things I find funny you are likely to think absurd or foolish. It has always been this way and this is how it will likely continue, so funny will remain the final proof of Einstein’s general theory and rest assured, he’s laughing in his grave.
She wants to know why the oriole we sometimes see in the park never visits our backyard feeder. I remind her that she isn’t usually here, only visits occasionally, but she says that I would have told her if I saw one. She says I got excited when I saw the one in the park during our walk. She is right, of course, I would have told her but all I see at the feeders are finches of several sorts, doves and wrens, and when he wants particularly to be seen as he often does, one cardinal who is far less interested in the seed than in having a perch in plain sight, and when he knows were watching, upthrusts his fiery crest and spreads his wings. I tell her cardinals are such show offs. She is seven, laughs and says yes they are, just like grandfathers, don’t you think.
If you are asked “who are you?” how will you reply, and who is the person asking the question? If you answer, you are blind if you say nothing you speak loudly. The sage will tell you that there is no you and if you doubt him he will hold up a mirror and ask what you see. If you answer “I see myself” he will laugh because no one can see themselves unless they see everyone, for you are both the reader and the writer of these poor words.
A reflection on case 131 of the Shobogenzo (True Dharma Eye)
In Tibet there are more than 80 words to describe states of consciousness, several words to explain the sound of prayer flags rustling in a Himalayan breeze that reaches up to the crest of the peaks that lick at the slowly gathering clouds, all of these words never uttered. There are no words in Tibet to describe the soft brush of your lips across my cheek, your hair pressed into my chest. There are no words in Tibet to describe the faint bouquet of soap and morning coffee as she dries herself slowly in the mirror that runs along the sinks. There are no words in Tibet to describe the sound of her laugh half giggle as we watch the kitten roll on her back, paws up reaching for the mote of dust dancing on the heat rising from the fireplace, pressed down by the lazily spinning ceiling fan. There are no words in Tibet to describe her eyes as they dart after the Monarch that flits above the deep purple Sedum that stands in silent prayer to the sun. There are no words in Tibet to describe how she cringes at the sight of the buck lying alongside the road eviscerated by the fender of the car, long gone, his horn buried in the shallow dirt. There are no words in Tibet to describe the ripples of her spine as I run my finger down her back while she curls, grasping at the margins of sleep. There are no words in Tibet for all of these, no words to fill the room, to blanket the lumpy mattress on which I sit staring at the blank screen of the TV, reflecting the neon light of the 24 hour diner that flashes through the gauze curtains of room 4218 of the Hyatt, merely the echo of another plane lifting out of the San Jose airport.
He appeared rather suddenly, and didn’t seem to stay very long. Some claimed they knew he was coming, most never saw him arrive, although some said they saw him clearly, that he visited frequently, that they knew his presence unquestionably and spoke to him at some length. She knew there was much wishful thinking and a dearth of reality, but she had come to accept that they got what they seemed so badly to need at no cost to her or any others. But her daughter, seeing all this, could only laugh, for though she might be young, she knew he didn’t appear, he was always there, they just wouldn’t close their eyes and see what every child did.
Each night I stare up at the sky, scanning for the one star that is there solely to answer whatever entreaties I choose to make. It is said that we each have a lucky star, but perhaps, given the ever-expanding population of the world, mine is just too dim to see from the city in which I live, or perhaps, I simply haven’t found it, and addressing someone else’s star brings you nothing, not even thanks from the lucky soul who won the big lottery last week all at my urging, I mean how could I know it was their star I addressed with my request, it isn’t like they wear name tags after all. Still, I don’t give up trying, though I often swear that Orion and Cassiopeia spend a portion of every evening together just laughing their celestial asses off at me.